Starring Steve McQueen, (the famous actor not the famous director) in one of his earliest roles, THE GREAT ST. LOUIS BANK ROBBERY is a docu-pic/heist film, very much in the vein of other true crime films such as KANSAS CITY CONFIDENTIAL, that were all the rage in the late 50s. What differentiates this film from crime classics as KANSAS CITY CONFIDENTIAL is how ugly, and unkempt and unglamorous and unromanticized and in places mundane it is. It’s not a great film by any means, following as it does petty damaged lives in search of quixotic windmills, but this very seeming plodding approach, leads to moments of surprising and unexpected veracity and brutality.
It’s unsentimental nature, by the end becomes its strength, powering it, along with flashes of directorial style, to a memorable ending. So definitely worth a viewing. Grade: C+.
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